Mark Finneran and Matt Gusching
Period 8

Since the two nations conception, tensions between Pakistan and India had traditionally run high, culminating in two wars and tens of thousands of lost lives by 1970. An economically-unstable Britain gave colonial India it’s independence in 1947, splitting up the region along supposed religious boundaries to create the predominantly Muslim Pakistan and mainly Hindu India(2). However this seemingly simple divide left many complicated problems unsolved. Kashmir was a princely state with a majority Muslim population and a Hindu leader. It was touching both India and Pakistan, and each nation claimed the region as their own, eventually leading to the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1947 and 1965.

Another lingering issue was Bangladesh, with it's predominantly Muslim population, which eventually joined Pakistan, although it was separated from the mainland by 1000 miles of Indian territory. This divide proved hard to overcome for the young, developing nation. Most of the power remaine
west_SIDE,_east_SIDE.jpgd within the Western half of the country while the East had a larger population(1) . Over time resentment began to mount among Eastern Pakistan inhabitants towards the Western elite, feelings that were heightened by growing economic inequality(1). After “the deadliest storm in world history decimated East Pakistan, causing over half a million deaths and making millions homeless”, tensions reached an all time high. Many Eastern Pakistanis felt rejected and outraged over the lack of aid provided by Western Pakistan(1). That same year the Eastern “Awami League” ,a Muslim party(2), won the countries first “free and fair election”, but leaders from each side of the country couldn't come to an agreement with regards to sharing power(3) . The Awami League “was not in a position to compromise its political program without being regarded as a traitor to the Bengali cause"(4) , and “West Pakistan's ruling elite were so dismayed by the turn of events” they put the Bengali leader Shiekh Mujibur Rehman in jail(1). Soon, Eastern Pakistan had declared independence and Western Pakistan was attacking Bengali leaders and citizens, attempting to put an end to the revolt before it had a chance to begin. Their only resistance came in the form of the Mukti Bahini, a group of guerilla freedom fighters, however without any assistance they stood no chance against the overwhelming Western Pakistani forces.

As thousands of Bengali refugees began spilling over the border into India in hopes to avoid the violence, India realized that “it was cheaper to resort to war than to absorb millions of refugees into India's already bloated populatio
Troop movements during the Indo-Pakistani War of '71
n”(3). When India first saw war on the horizon, they took strides to ensure a victory. The first strategy by India is described by the Internet site Bangladeshi War of Independence. It states: “August 1971, India signed a twenty-year Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation with the Soviet Union. One of the treaty's clauses implied that each nation was expected to come to the assistance of the other in the event of a threat to national security such as that occurring in the 1965 war with Pakistan"(5). This was a valuable insurance but due to the short length of the war, Russian soldiers never had to see combat. As another precautionary step, India organized, trained, and provided sanctuary to the Mukti Bahini”which further angered Pakistan. As war neared and tensions between India and Pakistan escalated to a point where war was inevitable, Pakistan was determined to strike first. Pakistan struck inspiration form the Arab-Israeli war in which Israel had a preemptive strike against Arab neighbors and won in six days. Likewise Pakistan would strike quickly and catch India of guard. Unfortunately for Pakistan, India was prepared and the raid ended in failure. Another strategy that India enacted was to cut communications from the sea. The United Press International wrote: “India attacked Pakistan by land and air today, claiming the capture of six towns in East Pakistan, launching heavy air raids on bases in West Pakistan and establishing an air and sea blockade to cut communications between the two parts of the country"(6). The advantage of a superior Air Force proved to be the most beneficial for India’s success over Palestine. After only 14 days, the Indian forces managed to capture Dhaka, the capital of Pakistan, and force the surrender of the Pakistani army there on December 16 (3).

As the war drew to a close with Eastern Pakistan gaining it's independence, Indian prime minister Indira Gahndi and Pakistani leaders met in Simla, a resort town in Northern India to talk peace. Not too much changed, as “the unresolved issues surround that disputed state [Kashmir] weighed heavily in the settlement talks”(3). They agreed to resume diplomatic relations, and to observe the current cease-fire lines in Kashmir as well as Jammu. The prewar border was put into effect everywhere else (7) .

The war proved to be costly for all parties involved. Although they gained autonomy, Bangladesh had a hard time moving forward economically. Months after the war ended, “less than 25% of Bangladeh's industry is working because of wrecked and looted machinery and lack of raw materials, capital, credit and personnel"(8) . The damage caused by the war was even called “greater than that suffered by Europe in World War II” by a U.N. Chief(7). Western Pakistan was also hit hard by the war. Their entire military infrastructure was dismantled, leaving over half of its navy, a third of its army and a fourth of it's air force destroyed(1). For India, the conflict was expensive, without providing the nation with much to show for it. They still had to deal with many homeless Bengali refugees that added to their economic stresses, and they didn't gain any territory except for a few key outposts in Kashmir(1).

Although the Indo-Pakistani conflict was brief it was significant. It has significance for the lives that were lost and wars ability to strike fear in the hearts of civilians. This conflict also had a positive impact on some of the lives involved. Bangladeshis now are living free and are governed by leaders that want the best for there people. Unfortunately, it seems the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 did little to relieve the underlying tensions which led to the conflict in the first place. Kashmir is still a hotly contested region, with outbursts of violence occurring to this day. By 1998, both India and Pakistan had “conducted open nuclear tests, dramatically raising the stakes in the conflict over Kashmir"(9) . But it appears that there is some hope for the two warring nations to come to terms with their political, religious, and geographic disputes. In 2003 “the two countries agreed to restore diplomatic ties. In late November India accepted Pakistan's offer of a cease-fire along their shared border in Kashmir, ending artillery fire there for the first time in 14 years”(3). Although these countries have had a past of violence, steps are being taken to ensure a peaceful future.

Works Cited

1.[[#sdfootnote1anc|1]]“The 1971 India-Pakistan War: Remembering a Liberation War.” Subcontinent. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2009. <__‌1971war/‌origins.html__>

2.[[#sdfootnote2anc|2]]“India-Pakistan War of 1971.” World History: Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2009. Web. 30 Sept. 2009. <__‌Search/‌Display.aspx?categoryid=21&searchtext=india-pakistan+war+of+1971&type=simple&option=all&entryid=934338&issublink=true&fromsearch=false__>.

3. [[#sdfootnote3anc|3]]“Indo-Pakistani Wars.” Encarta. MSN, n.d. Web. 30 Sept. 2009. <__‌encyclopedia_761588350/‌indo-pakistani_wars.html__>

4. [[#sdfootnote4anc|4]]Tanweer, Akram. “ Virtual Bangladesh : History.” Virtual Bangladesh. N.p., 1 May 2005. Web. 30 Sept. 2009. <__‌history/‌overview_akram.html__>.

5. [[#sdfootnote5anc|5]] Pike, John. “Bangladeshi War of Independence.” Global Security. N.p., 27 Apr. 2005. Web. 1 Oct. 2009. <__‌military/‌world/‌war/‌indo-pak_1971.htm__>.

6. [[#sdfootnote6anc|6]] India Launches Air-ground War against Pakistan.” UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL. Gale, n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2009. <__‌gps/‌>.

7. [[#sdfootnote7anc|7]] “SOUTH ASIA: Victory for Sanity.” TIME. N.p., 17 July 1972. Web. 30 Sept. 2009. <__‌time/‌printout/‌0,8816,877873,00.html__>.

8. [[#sdfootnote8anc|8]]“BANGLADESH: Bleak Future.” TIME. N.p., 2 Feb. 1972. Web. 30 Sept. 2009. <__‌time/‌magazine/‌article/‌0,9171,905883,00.html__>.

9. [[#sdfootnote9anc|9]]Tkacik, John H. “Kashmir: A 50-year controversy.” eLibrary. N.p., May 2002. Web. 30 Sept. 2009. <__‌elibweb/‌curriculum/‌do/‌document?set=search&groupid=1&requestid=lib_standard&resultid=4&urn=urn:bigchalk:US;BCLib;document;87948098&style=printable&edition=&start=&language=__>.